Monday, April 04, 2016

Der Vampyr


I had other choices of things to see in Berlin, but I thought Der Vampyr by Heinrich Marschner at the Komische Oper would be fun, and I was right.  Or as it says in the program 'after Heinrich Marschner.'

Conductor:  Antony Hermus

Lord Ruthven, Vampire:  Heiko Trinsinger (baritone)
Sir Humphrey, Lord von Davenaut:  Jens Larsen (bass)
Malwina, his daughter:  Nicole Chevalier (soprano)
Edgar Aubrey: Zoltan Nyari (tenor)
Emmy:  Maria Fiselier (soprano)
George Dibdin:  Ivan Tursic (tenor)

This opera is primarily about costume and makeup.  They also do not hesitate to lower painted sets from the flies which makes all the scenes flow rapidly from one to the other.  The stage is enhanced with a nice runway around the orchestra.

We begin with Edgar roaming the stage, coming out of a casket, going back in.  Then the actual opera begins with Ruthven and the other vampires, who all look ghastly.  Other ghastly looking vampires roamed the audience.  A woman behind me screamed.  Ruthven can only stay alive if he gets and kills two brides by midnight.  He sets to work.

Here is a scene with Edgar and Malvina making love.  The main arias are here.  The vampire Ruthven comes and takes her off.  Her father prefers Ruthven.  We have a ball where everyone looks lovely, but then for some reason they become hideous.  Someone shoots them all with a machine gun, including the conductor who comes out of the pit for this.

Maybe I shouldn't tell everything.  Eventually the clock strikes 12 and Ruthven has only one bride with one more to go.  Not good for him.  I have to tell the end.  Edgar gets Malwina and starts to bite her on the neck.  She pulls out her wooden stake and goes to work on him.

I enjoyed this a lot but found the music wandering away from standard Spieloper style.  Spieloper is basically the style of opera in Germany between Beethoven and Wagner, practiced by Marschner and Lorzing, and generally resembles Weber.  It differs from Singspiel primarily for the slightly more serious subject matter.  More modern musical effects were sometimes heard.

One doesn't want to always be serious.

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